Surrender

I am so incredibly tired.

Another morning of waking up in a fog with a pounding headache.  After 2 weeks, this is becoming the norm and my body is becoming accustomed to functioning in this fog.

One more wake up, frantically moving the elf because I forgot to last night.

A box of crackers hastily opened and eaten at midnight– that’s the taste in my mouth– why did I have to eat them all?

Sunken eyes, puffy skin, general aches and pains– am I 40 or 90?

My addiction is winning, it is the devil.  I want to fight– I CAN defeat this monster.

Day 1, I surrender ❤ on-my-knees

 

 

December Blips

This month has been much more difficult than I expected.

I’m trying really hard to not be depressed during this holiday season.  I miss my mom and wish she was here.  I wish I could ask her about her wine habit and talk about my journey with her.  I never thought in a million years that she had an alcohol problem, but now I wonder if she drank more than she wanted to.  It now annoys me that I drank so much at most family parties and wish I had more sober conversations with her.  This is turning into a big ramble…

I’m trying to get out and run, even if I don’t make it out until it gets dark out.   I actually like running in the dark this time of year.  The holiday lights around are so pretty and the City Hall is all lit up with a giant Christmas tree.  It’s all very beautiful and serene and running keeps me from going insane.

I’ve been having more slip ups this month than previous months.  I’m accepting it and am ok with it, mainly for 2 reasons.

#1 I’m ecstatic that I had more sober time in 2017 than the past 10 years combined.  I think this is fantastic.  I’ve learned so much this year!  Back in 2016 I wanted to quit but had no idea how.   I look at how far I’ve come since then and I am so pleased.

#2 I have a plan for 2018 and that includes it being one of the best years ever.  My plan includes getting a sponsor and working the 12 steps carefully and thoroughly.  I haven’t been to an AA meeting since the summer.  The meetings I went to were at noon so now that I’m back at work I have to find an evening meeting.  I’ve looked and still have to decide on which one to go to.  If I’m not comfortable there, then I will try a different one.  In addition to AA, there’s a Refuge Recovery meditation meeting at a barn in Milford on Tuesday nights.  I would like to try this as well and think it could benefit me.  The next couple of weeks are very busy with several night commitments.  My hope is to start the evening meetings before getting back to work in January.  I sure hope I find one that I like with people who I can connect with!

My mood is good today & I had a very good day yesterday.  I was annoyed when I woke up because the hubby and kids played Minecraft all evening on Friday and stayed up too late.  They have been playing so much lately and it leaves me bored to tears.  So I when hubby woke up yesterday, Saturday, morning I demanded a date day.  He agreed and it was lovely, although part of the date included grocery shopping.  That was ok though, I always like it when he comes along and helps me.  I was happy that I calmly voiced my needs and wants and that he listened.

That is my Sunday ramblings.  I am optimistic that the future will be great ❤497680462

I CAN

End of day 2. Not a totally great day but better than yesterday. Quite a bit of frustration this evening with my kiddos, their homework, the animals, getting stuff done for tomorrow, etc.

BUT.. the work day was much better to get through without a hangover.

I DID have the urge to drink tonight while helping my unfocused son with math. Huge urge. Almost texted hubby to stop for something on his way home. Didn’t help that I had a root canal 5 days ago and my tooth is still bugging me tonight.

I followed the drink and didn’t like where it lead me. I visualized getting hammered to the point of closing up and not being able to verbalize my thoughts. I thought of going to bed without remembering if I moved the elf on the shelf or if I fed the dog. I imagined waking up with a throbbing headache and going through the whole day feeling awful– like I did yesterday on my last Day 1.

I have to stay grateful and maintain the mindset that I’m on this journey for a reason.  It’s not easy, but if it was then everyone would beat their addiction.  It is hard, but I have already gotten so much out of this process.  I am grateful for another Day 2 and hopeful that I will beat this ❤ download

 

 

This is Hard

This week my addiction has won.

All due to a number of events that lead me to stop on the way home from my union meeting to get wine and succumb to my urge.

This time of the year has been difficult.  I am not happy that I threw away 55 days.  I am not excited to start counting from Day 1.   I’m not even sure that I want to count at all.

Addiction is tough and it can seem impossible to beat.  It’s like a bump in the road.  You’re riding along all smooth and fast, cruising right along, singing and relaxed.  Out of nowhere appears a Michigan pothole. You come to a complete stop, you break your tire and rim, your front end gets bent and you then have to hobble along– all at a super slow speed sporting a donut.  Sometimes you see the hole and can avoid it– but sometimes it just seems to appear from thin air.

I’m not sure what to do next.  It’s Saturday and I think I’m going to stay sober tonight.  I do feel much better not drinking.  I have liquor left (that was yesterday’s purchase) and intended on drinking tonight as a last hurrah for awhile– but I’m gathering strength to abstain.  I may or may not dump it down the drain.

This is hard.

We are an Army

Thanksgiving was ok, but ended with a huge amount of frustration on my end.  Hubby went to his parents with the boys while I went to my dad’s.  He was supposed to come out after a few hours.   I told my dad when I arrived that the boys would be coming later.

He didn’t start to head out until almost 8:00pm.  By this time we were all leaving my dad’s house.  He had been at his parents since about 2 pm and I was livid.  I didn’t even want to talk to him or look at him the whole night– I was so disappointed.  We don’t get out to see my dad much and I could tell he was disappointed that the boys didn’t make it over.  I don’t feel like I ask for a whole lot in this marriage, and Thanksgiving ended with a plethora of awful feelings.  It was a long 40 minute drive home from my dad’s and you bet that Betsy was talking me up the whole time trying to talk me into stopping for liquor on the way home.  

Friday wasn’t much better in terms of my feelings and emotions.  It was a boring and lazy day.  I was ok laying in bed for most of it, until the neighbor boy came over telling my kids about how warm it was outside and that they should come out.  Then I realized that it was like sunny and 50 degrees and I was missing out.  I have been waiting for a warm day for a bike ride and I’ve been walking almost everyday in the cold.  I took a shower and was getting dressed to go out, when I just collapsed on my bed.  I. Just. Couldn’t.  I didn’t have the energy nor the motivation.   I needed a ‘rest’ day both physically and mentally.

By this time, it was early evening and hubby was dealing with a work problem.  He’s a web developer for a major USA retailer and there was an issue with their system yesterday (on Black Friday– eeek!!).  He was on the phone for hours and I was expected to walk around the house as quiet as a mouse.  The kids were downstairs, but I didn’t want to be a part of that chaos– and I had been shut in my room for most of the day– so I had to just keep quiet in the common area– getting more annoyed by the minute.

By this time, Betsy piped up.  She urged me to get my shoes on and go to the liquor store.  She reminded me how much better I would feel after a glass of wine.  She told me I deserved it and that I was torturing myself for no reason at all.  She asked why I wanted to just sit there like a miserable being and that I should treat myself better.  She kept going and going and for the first time in several weeks, I listened and knew that it would be far too easy to throw away 52 days.

This could have gone one of two ways.  I could have allowed Betsy to talk me into getting some drinks.  I would have numbed out.  That first glass may have felt good, but this would have ended with me locked in my bedroom, sad and lonely.  Today would have begun with a giant hangover, a cloudy mind, increased anxiety and irritability and another Day 1.  OR, I could reach out to other sober friends.   And I did.  And they gave me a different perspective and some good advice and tips.  And they had positive messages and motivational thoughts.  And I listened.  It is much easier to be a warrior when you have an army standing behind you.  

I made a late dinner and felt a little better after eating.  After dinner, even though it was after 8pm, my teenage son and I ran to Target.  I realized that I just needed to get out for a bit.  It may have been dangerous going to a place that sold wine, but I didn’t think twice when I walked by the wine aisle.  I DID have a great time picking out some new earrings and jeans 🙂

I am so thankful for a clear headed wake up and Day 53.  I am enjoying some coffee while writing this and intend on going on a walk/run afterwards.  Today will be a better day than yesterday and if Betsy tries to get in my head she is getting a big middle finger from me and my army of warriors ❤

Thanksgiving Cheers

Today is Thanksgiving.  So far, it’s been a good day.  Well, except that my itchy pup woke me up at 3am and I was not able to get back to sleep.  So.. I’m up early enjoying coffee and my computer.  When it gets a little closer to daylight I am going to go do my Couch to 5K workout.  I’m thankful to be up early to get in my workout on an otherwise busy day!

After my run, I’m going to make a quiche and sausage for breakfast & deviled eggs to bring to my dad’s.  Luckily I was assigned to desserts and pop– which is all made and ready to go.  My sister usually brings deviled eggs (which my dad LOVES) but she is in Florida now and my dad mentioned he will miss her and her deviled eggs.  I can’t bring her back to Michigan, but I can surprise him with some deviled eggs 🙂

This week hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies.  I started my two day work week on Monday in a pretty foul mood.  Not sure if it was PMS, anxiety about the holiday or my inner alcoholic voice, who has been chatty all week causing my irritability.  Tuesday was better– even though it was a long work day with parent/teacher conferences, I felt lighter and happier and relieved that a 5 day weekend was almost here.

Yesterday was a great day.  I was off, but the boys had 1/2 day of school. I didn’t sleep all that well, but had to be up early to get them off.  After they left I got ready, went to Big Lots (to mainly stock up on coffee– but also to tool around), then to get a haircut and then to Kroger for stuff for today.

I got home before noon and got some things done around the house, then a 3.5 mile walk/run and made dinner and my desserts for today.  It was the kind of day that was productive, but with mainly things that I enjoy doing– so not too much like work!

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I belong to many support groups online and are connected to many recovering folks like myself.  There are many people struggling this holiday season.  I am constantly trying to lift them up and motivate them with positivity.  I know that when I go through tough times, they always have my back and I am forever thankful for the support we can give each other.  If you have a moment today, please send a prayer and/or positive thoughts and vibes to those who are struggling.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving and a happy and healthy holiday season ❤

 

Sober Firsts, a Year of Growth and Learning

Day 46.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on how far I’ve come since first quitting last February.  I’ve made it through many challenging firsts.  A friend in recovery told me in the beginning, “The first year is the hardest because you have so many firsts, everything is a first and can be difficult and uncomfortable, and then it is no big deal.”  Knowing this helped me get through some of the tough firsts.

February 10th- My last day of drinking after nightly drinking since being pregnant (10 years prior).

February 13- my 1st third day sober in several years and also my late mother’s birthday.  I was making dinner when my husband got home from work.  He came in to give me a hug and I melted in his arms with heavy sobs.  He comforted me, thinking that I was upset about my mom, who’s passing was still fairly fresh.  I wasn’t upset about my mom, I was crying because I had wine in the garage and I wanted it SO badly.  This is so utterly ridiculous to me now.  I was upset not because of my  dead mom’s birthday that I could not celebrate with her, but because I wanted a drink so friggin bad.  He talked me through it and we ended up going for a walk after dinner.  I made it through and later dumped the wine.  To this day, that 3rd day was by far the most difficult day to stay sober.  I wasn’t going through physical withdrawals either, it was all psychological.  Habits die hard!

March 17- St. Patrick’s Day AND my 40th birthday.  I threw myself a party at my house.  My sister and brother in law gave me a 5th of rum (they did not know I quit).  I later gave it to my cat sitter (I wanted someone to be able to enjoy it!).  Hubby made a delicious “Almond Joy” cake and my BFF brought a cake over.  I indulged on cake.  It was pretty fun, but the whole night it felt like a good friend was missing.  I was missing my party companion, alcohol. I felt incredibly boring, but my BFF later told me that she didn’t think I was boring and that I was much more entertaining than if I had gotten wasted and crashed out early.  All in all, it was a success!

April 2017- Spring Break.  We flew to Florida and stayed at my sister’s.  She and her boyfriend drank a couple of nights, but mostly didn’t drink.  Our drinking together goes way back, so it was kind of difficult, but by now I had a lot of sobriety under my belt and didn’t want to ruin it.  This was my first sober vacation and it was pretty great.  We were active and did many cool things, like run through the tropics and over the causeway and kayaking down a river filled with gators and manatees.   I could tell that my sister was envious of our commitment to a healthy and active vacation.    It was a great trip and I left with no regrets!

Difficult things that I mastered over the summer of 2017:

The pool.  Traditionally, I never went in without a drink.  Interestingly enough, around the time that we opened it was the same time as my first relapse.  I relapsed every 2 weeks or so over the summer, but still had a lot of sober time, so I spent more time in the pool not drinking than drinking.  By the end of the summer, it was normal to hop on my float with a book and a tall glass of ice water.  I enjoyed the pool so much more sober.  By September I was using it more than I ever had before.  It became a great place to cool off after a walk and swim refreshing laps.  Since the day we closed it I have been counting down the days till we can open it again.  I hope that I’m not tempted at first, but at least I know that the temptation will go away with practice.

The beach.  Like the pool, it was highly unusual for me to be at the beach without alcohol. We went a few times over the summer for family parties and after a few times it was second nature to be coherent.  It was actually nice to be able to drive our family home and get stuff done afterwards.  Previously, any trips to the beach ended with me passing out in the car on the way home and not remembering getting home and going to bed.  It was also a bonus to be able to socialize without slurring and remembering all of the conversations I had.

The cottage.  This was a toughie.  Our first trip up was also during my early relapse days.  I love going up to the cottage, but it is sometimes a sad place to be.  My mom died about a year after she bought it.  My aunt, uncle and grandma lived next door.  Since my mom died, my grandma and my uncle have passed away.  My aunt still lives up there, but works a lot so sometimes when we’re up there it’s incredibly lonely.  Especially when I start to think of the good ole days when being at the cottage meant being surrounded by family members at all times.  July 3rd and 4th are always difficult days.  My mom passed away on July 3rd and hearing all of the fireworks on July 4th always brings back those awful memories.  Happy to say that I stayed sober both days this summer.  This was pretty huge for me and I know my mom was proud ❤   After that, I basically stayed sober at the cottage.  I tried to focus on getting good sleep and exercising.  Also, I’m triggered when my other sister is up there with me.  She drinks a lot.  I was able to abstain while she was up there with us and this was with lots of alcohol in the fridge.  I did drink one time near the end of the summer.  It was our last hurrah up there and I drank Saturday night and also Sunday all day while we were getting ready to go home and chilling at the beach.  It wasn’t pretty and I don’t want to do that again.

Since summer of 2017 I’ve had a couple of other firsts.  My first sober concert, which was totally enjoyable with Red Bull and my first trip up to my Bff’s house.  I’ve never spent the night at her house sober (except maybe during my pregnancies).  I didn’t sleep great because they are so loud at night, but I did do the whole night sober.  It was fun, we sat in the jacuzzi and played cards and ate snacks.  Again, I came home with no regrets– which is like the best feeling ever!

Next will be my first sober Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I am totally looking forward to spending the holidays fully present and feeling well.  During my time off I’ll be able to fit in a lot of workouts.  I think I’m getting a bike for Christmas, going to go on lots of bike rides if it’s not too cold.  There is so much to look forward too, especially knowing that alcohol will not be in charge and dictating what I do, when I do it, and then waking up feeling like death.

Then New Years eve.  I’ll eat delicious snacks and actually remember the ball dropping!

It feels amazing to have kicked guilt and shame to the curb and to be living life fully present each and every day ❤

Are You Being Duped?

“Do you ever feel duped by alcohol?  Throughout high school, we were all told to “just say no” to drugs but not much was ever said about alcohol.  The reality is that only 1 in 10 people with an alcohol problem get treatment.  The research shows that the number 1 most addictive drug is alcohol.  It kills more people than all other drugs combined.”

Excerpt from:   www.recoveryelevator.com/re-116-duped-alcohol/

I feel duped by alcohol, Every. Single. Day.

As a teenager, I was duped.  As a college student, I was duped.  As a mom, I was duped.

As a recovering alcoholic, I notice ads, groups and persuasions everywhere on a daily basis normalizing and glorifying the use of alcohol.

A wine festival advertises: Baby on the hips, wine on the lips!

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Really?

Another ad pops up with a barbell that has a wine bottle holder in the middle, so you can drink every time you lift it up.

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Wine or beer sipping yoga classes are not uncommon.

Strength training and yoga are the epitome of healthy activities, would you eat a cake while working out?  That would surely be shunned by the average health seeker.

Facebook pages such as Fitness Magazine routinely share articles that claim that a glass of wine every night has health benefits.  This drives me crazy!  A fitness magazine promoting ingesting poison regularly.  They fail to mention that you can get the exact same benefits from certain fruits and vegetables, WITHOUT the poison (imagine that!).

Why is the public so agreeable with this poison being normalized and glorified?

Did you know that drinking alcohol contributes to anxiety?  Crazy huh?  When I was a drinker, I would especially need a drink after a difficult day.  I probably said things thousands of times like, “I need a few tall ones tonight!  After today I need to drink my dinner.  I need a drink NOW.”  I thought I NEEDED it to combat my stressful life.  It wasn’t until I stopped drinking that I realized that it was the alcohol that made me a crazy anxious person.  Not to say that some people, even without alcohol, suffer from anxiety, it is a real condition and I am not minimizing that. But for ME, quitting drinking diminished my anxiety greatly.

There is good news!  Social media has made it possible for sober people to connect all over to support each other and shed the light on drinkers who want to stop.  I wanted to stop a good 9 months before I was mentally able to and it was all thanks to a podcast I found called the Recovery Elevator that helped me to gather the tools needed to quit.  Prior to listening, even the thought of going to an AA meeting made me cry.  After listening to so many people like me, I realized that 12 step and recovery groups are OK and should not be feared or shamed.

There is a plethora of facebook groups, web pages and podcasts that address quitting drinking and thriving in sobriety.  I believe that this movement is helping middle aged adults like myself see that alcohol free living can be so much better than regularly drinking.

More good news is that the younger generations are seemingly smarter about their alcohol consumption.  In fact, many recent articles address the theories as to why millennials aren’t drinking alcohol– or at least drinking as much as their predecessors.

In September 2017, Forbes published an article citing 10 reasons why millennials aren’t drinking booze.  (https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2017/09/26/generation-sober-10-reasons-why-millennials-are-opting-out-of-booze-to-socialize/&refURL=https://www.google.com/&referrer=https://www.google.com/)

I dream of a day where healthy choices are advertised and promoted as much as the poisonous ethanol.

But until then, us humans can band together and refuse to be bamboozled by these sinister corporations ❤

 

 

 

 

When the Party’s Over

As I reflect upon having 33 sober days today, I’m astonished at the glimpses I keep getting of the past.  And when I say past, I’m not talking about last year, or 2005.  I mean the past from 20+ years ago.  Back when my life was much simpler.  Before kids, and marriage and before becoming a slave to the bottle.

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but at some point the party ended.  Friends moved into their forever homes, bought businesses that flourished, climbed up the employment ladder and so forth.  Not all life events were good; we lost parents, got laid off from jobs, dealt with chronic illnesses, you get the point.

Most of us naturally stopped buying cases of beer, or gallons of liquor every weekend.  We had things to do and places to go, there wasn’t time to get together, sit around and get drunk all weekend.

Then there was me.  At least 2-3 times a week would include a stop at the liquor store to stock up– usually different stores so that the clerk wouldn’t know that I was a drunk.  Every night was race to make lunches, do homework, give baths and get ready for the following day– all so that I could pour a drink by 8:00pm.  That was my witching hour & if something interfered with that deadline, I turned into a witch.

Mornings were filled with exhaustion, shame and regret.  I would stop, I would tell myself, “This is going to be the day that I quit.”  I didn’t want to wake up like that anymore and would be done with it. This mindset would last a majority of the day while I physically tried to get over the hangover.  Usually by 5pm I was feeling better physically and the urge to get more wine or liquor would overpower my earlier desire to quit.

While the party ended for everyone else, including my hubby, I consented to being a slave to alcohol. It ruled every aspect of my life.  Every. Single. Night.  If I was somewhere without being able to drink, I was in a mad rush to get home as soon as possible because I needed that drink.  Alcohol stole every part of my being.  Family parties and other social gatherings that included alcohol ended with me too tipsy to hold a conversation and forgetting half of the night– and waking up horrified at what I may have said or done.

I am so grateful for all that I have learned over the past several months and particularly the past 33 days.  Things this time around are a bit different than the last time I got sober (93 days starting in February 2017).  I know exactly where I want to be and how I never want to live my life again.

One of the unexpected treats of sobriety is living and remembering what life used to be like, before I had to answer to alcohol every single day.

This weekend was a reminder of that.  I spent it with old friends, partying like we used to, only we weren’t drinking.  It was as though we were kids again, and the most devious acts were eating too many treats and staying up too late– laughing genuinely not the false tipsy laughing that is superficial.  I am exhausted today- but can go through the day not sick, anxious and strung out.

Best yet, I had to drive all the way home early and the same friends are coming over later because we have a concert in Detroit tonight.  Being a slave I would have never taken on so many activities in one weekend.  It would infringe too much on my Sunday night drinking and I would have planned for a horrific hangover today.

Monday morning will be tough (we’ll be out LATE tonight– another night of little sleep) but not nearly as tough as waking up with a killer hangover, topped with shame and regret.

This is living life.  I feel young again and so carefree ❤

Holiday Triggers

Halloween is in 2 days.  This holiday is a huge trigger for many people, including myself.  I hadn’t given it much thought, until this week.  I am connected with many in recovery on Facebook and Twitter.  All week I’ve seen posts daily about parties, outings and triggers– all revolving around Halloween.

For me, Halloween night, even if it falls on a weekday, has included alcohol for well over 10 years.  Halloween parties are in full force and always include alcohol, and sometimes include several weekends during October.  Yes, October can be one big huge trigger.

Last Halloween was memorable, but not in a great way.  It was one of my lowest points, actually.  We walked with the kids with a few family members and our neighbors and their kids.  We are fairly new to the neighborhood and it is tradition that our neighbor across the street, Kim, has a big Halloween party on Halloween night.  Kim started drinking as we were walking, so of course I had to run home and get a HUGE glass of wine (it was the only non-spillable container I had).

After trick-or-treating we went to the party.   I was already pretty wasted by the time we got there.  I remember laughing a lot and staying really late and joking about having to get sub for me the next day.  We stayed (with the kids) really late (I have no idea what time we came home).

The next day, I didn’t get up for work and I didn’t get the kids up for school.  We all played hooky and I felt physically dead all day (and probably the following day).  I remember feeling like a giant parental failure, and had major paranoid feelings about what I may have said at the party with neighbors, some of whom I had never met- what a great first impression they must’ve had!

This year, I already told Kim that we’ll be at her party.  Halloween is on Tuesday.  I am not going to be drinking alcohol.  If Betsy tries to talk me into it, I will scream and punch and kick.  I will miss the party if needed.  I do NOT want a repeat of last year.  I am using the humiliation of last year as motivation.   We may stay late out late.  A Tuesday night party isn’t normally my thing, but I know that even with little sleep waking up after an AF night is totally manageable.

Looking forward to getting to know my neighbors for the first time (because last time I don’t remember) and to a no shame-feeling-good-about-my-decisions November 1st ❤